@ Seattle Half-Marathon: 10-year-old Miles Trius does it again!

November 29, 2015 at 11:32 am | In West Seattle news, West Seattle people, WS & Sports | 2 Comments

This time last year, we heard for the first time from the family of West Seattleite Miles Trius, who, with his dad, had just run the Seattle Half-Marathon for the first time. Today, they sent word (with the above photo) that the father-and-son duo did it again:

Miles Trius, age 10, runs 2nd Seattle Half Marathon with Navy Chief dad Ernesto Trius:

Miles is a 5th grader at Our Lady of Guadalupe in West Seattle and has trained hard for today. He challenged himself to finish in under 2 hours and was able to accomplish that goal, finishing at a time of 1:56:27.

Checking our archives, that’s 21 minutes faster than last year. Congratulations to Miles, his dad, and everyone who ran/is running the Half-Marathon and Marathon today.

City Councilmember Lorena González takes office: West Seattleite makes history

November 24, 2015 at 9:17 pm | In West Seattle news, West Seattle people, West Seattle politics | 1 Comment

(Seattle City Council photo, via Twitter)

Tonight, West Seattle resident Lorena González became the first Seattle City Councilmember to take the oath of office after the certification of the November election. As noted in the city announcement below, her election itself represented a long-overdue first:

Councilmember Lorena González received the Oath of Office, following certification of election results by King County Elections. Before her friends and colleagues and a packed-Council Chambers, González reflected on her election, plans for her forthcoming Council term, and shared what it means to be the first Latina/o to serve the Seattle City Council in a speech clocking-in at less than ten minutes.

(Added Wednesday: Seattle Channel video of ceremony and speech)
“Mayor Murray, Council President Burgess, friends and family, sisters and brothers, I stand before you today with sincere appreciation for the opportunity I have to represent our community in our state’s largest city as the first Latina sworn into the Seattle City Council.”

Citing her experience as a civil rights attorney and community advocate, González also acknowledged her service as legal counsel to Seattle Mayor Ed Murray, and as a partner at Schroeter Goldmark & Bender, representing workers in wage theft and anti-discrimination cases and representing victims of police misconduct as formative experiences. She also recognized and thanked her parents for “…(believing) the American dream was achievable.”

Born and raised in Washington’s lower Yakima Valley to a Spanish-speaking migrant farmworker family, González – who earned her first paycheck at the age of 8 – reminded the audience “…I don’t have the background of a typical politician. Mine is a lived experience rooted in the reality of overcoming poverty and injustice. I am living proof that access to opportunity, coupled with hard work, is a recipe for success. I graduated high school in the face of overwhelming odds. I worked in a food plant, a bank, a retail store, a fast food chain, a day care, and a hotel.”

González conjured memories of picking cherries as a child, spending as many as three hours a day before the start of the school day, and “Often in an environment where I was sprayed with pesticides, or working without access to a bathroom or water…. it’s these formative moments and experiences that inspired me to want to be an advocate, a champion, for those people who I see myself in — even to this day — and especially for those who haven’t had a strong voice in government. They live in the shadows, and I did too – until I saw a path and climbed my way out.“

González went on to outline her intentions to draw on her extensive experience standing up for progressive values and the underrepresented to her work serving the people of Seattle as one of two at-large (citywide) representatives.

In her final moments in Chambers, González turned her attention to future Council colleagues. “My word is my deed,” said González. “I have dedicated my life’s work to defending workers’ rights and will continue this fight – in the name of wage theft on behalf of a cook, or defending men and women against retribution in all its forms. I’ll continue my quest to stand up for dignity in the workplace, and in my work here at city hall on behalf of workers…I will not back down from tackling tough issues or seeking solutions that build a stronger community.”

Born and raised in Central Washington in a Spanish-speaking migrant farmworker family, Councilmember González relied on need-based grants and scholarships to attend community college and later Washington State University. She moved to Seattle in 2002 to attend Seattle University Law School. González has served on various local, regional and national non-profit boards, including OneAmerica, OneAmerica Votes, National Council of La Raza, Northwest Area Foundation, and Washington State Association for Justice.

Councilmember González won the Position 9 race with 78 percent of the vote. If you’re downtown or able to get there, Councilmember González is having an open house in her new office at City Hall tomorrow morning, 9:30 am-11:30 am

Remembering longtime West Seattleite Richard Allen Whitney

November 20, 2015 at 9:04 am | In Obituaries, West Seattle news, West Seattle people | 7 Comments

The family of longtime West Seattleite Richard A. Whitney is sharing this remembrance:

Our Hero, Richard Allen Whitney, passed away a True Veteran this past Veterans Day, 11/11/15.

He was born in Seattle, where he attended Highland Park Elementary, Denny Middle School, and Chief Sealth High School.

He was drafted into the Army and sent to Vietnam in 1967 and served two years. During his tour, he was exposed to Agent Orange and became very ill. He has since then had a liver and kidney transplant and lived beyond the years the doctors expected. He overcame many medical obstacles throughout his life and will be forever a medical miracle.

Whitney met his lovely wife, Liz Whitney, at Marv’s Broiler in White Center in 1981, and they have been happily married ever since!

He is survived by his wife Liz; mother Marie Clay; brother Ron Whitney; daughter and son Shannon and Patrick (PJ) Whitney. He also had the opportunity to meet his five grandkids as well who all adored him! Whitney coached Shannon in softball for more than 10 years as well as coaching SWAC football for PJ. He was very well known around our neighborhood, as all the kids loved to come to his house to play. He was a produce manager for QFC and retired from the Westwood Village store in West Seattle.

He loved his family, camping and the outdoors. He will forever be in our hearts and will be truly missed. There will be a memorial in the spring and his family will have the details posted when available.

(WSB publishes West Seattle obituaries by request, free of charge. Please e-mail the text, and a photo if available, to editor@westseattleblog.com)

VIDEO: Wayne Kinslow ends his swimming streak @ 1,200 days

November 14, 2015 at 11:35 am | In Seen at sea, West Seattle news, West Seattle people | 6 Comments

Back in April, West Seattleite Wayne Kinslow celebrated his 1,000th consecutive day of salt-water swimming, all but three off Alki. After 200 more days, he’s taking a break, starting today:

Thanks to Southwest Seattle Historical Society executive director Clay Eals for sharing his video from Wayne’s final day of the streak on Friday – he’s documented Wayne’s achievements on the SWSHS website (after all, it’s now part of West Seattle history!).

West Seattle Veterans Day scene: ‘Pinning’ at The Mount

November 11, 2015 at 6:12 pm | In West Seattle news, West Seattle people | 6 Comments

A stirring Veterans Day ceremony this afternoon at Providence Mount St. Vincent in West Seattle: A “pinning ceremony” for more than two dozen veterans who live at The Mount. They were recognized, one last time, for their service in World War II, Korea, and Vietnam, and got the chance to tell their stories. Among them, 92-year-old Donald Hill, in our photo below with son Dave, who introduced him:

According to a Mount spokesperson, Hill “decoded Nazi messages off the cliffs of Dover and landed on Utah Beach in Normandy on D-Day shortly after the first troops landed. Hill continued to decode messages as he and his fellow soldiers made their way through France, Belgium and Germany.” He was featured in this Seattle Times story earlier this week. This afternoon’s ceremony was in the chapel at The Mount; elsewhere in the building, a bulletin board is honoring those who have served:

The “We Honor Veterans” program is part of Providence Hospice of Seattle, which is caring for some of the veterans who participated in today’s ceremony – find out more about the program, and the veterans, here.

Click! Design That Fits proprietors share personal news: ‘Frances, John, and Alzheimer’s’

November 11, 2015 at 3:06 pm | In West Seattle businesses, West Seattle news, West Seattle people | 17 Comments

(John & Frances Smersh @ Click’s 11th anniversary celebration. Photo by Eliott Peacock)
The proprietors of Click! Design That Fits, longtime independent West Seattle business (and longtime WSB sponsor), have just gone public with some personal news, and friends and family have at the same time come up with a way to support them.

Here’s what’s happening: Frances Smersh, who has run Click! with husband John Smersh for 11 years, has been diagnosed with Early Onset Alzheimer’s. Frances is only 48.

As the e-mail to Click!’s mailing list today – headed “Frances, John, and Alzheimer’s” – explains, “While the timeline is uncertain, Early Onset Alzheimer’s can move quickly, and what we do know is that the next twelve months will be the best Frances and John can expect to have together. Essentially, this next year will be their best year.” That’s what Frances’s doctor told them this fall, a few months after the initial diagnosis. Alzheimer’s remains an incurable disease, no matter what the patient’s age.

The store will stay in business. But Frances and John hope to spend some extra time together during that “best year.” John says, “I intend to continue working, but hopefully in a capacity that allows me to keep myself healthy and able to be her primary caregiver. Frances has already become less involved in the business, meaning I’ve had to pick up more, when I really feel like we should be handing responsibility off to a manager so that we can have time together, while it lasts. I know there will be a time when I don’t have her any more …”

So, as the announcement adds, “Friends and family have started a fundraiser to raise money to help with medical costs and to allow them to step away from Click! for a while, enjoy their life, and figure out what’s next.” That page is on youcaring.com.

Frances is an artist whose work has long been part of the Click! offerings, including jewelry, and she also paints – she is this month’s highlighted artist and will be showing and selling her newest work during tomorrow night’s West Seattle Art Walk, 6-9 pm. The monthly Art Walk has always been a meaningful event for Click! – John has long led the committee that organizes it, part of their community involvement beyond the all-encompassing work of running an independent local business that supports local artists and other creators.

P.S. If you are interested in helping, but not online, please send postal mail to John at the store, 4540 California SW, Seattle 98116.

Northwest Hope & Healing’s Shari Sewell leaving ‘on a high note’

November 9, 2015 at 10:09 pm | In Health, West Seattle news, West Seattle people | 2 Comments

(WSB photo: Shari Sewell at NWH&H’s 2014 Alki Beach 5K)

West Seattleite Shari Sewell has announced she’s leaving Northwest Hope and Healing – which helps breast-cancer patients cope with the challenges of life going on despite their diagnosis. She’s been with the organization 12 years and says, “The Foundation is in great shape, so I figured I’d leave on a high note. I’m looking forward to some time off to relax and figure out what’s next.” Here’s how the organization announced the news, including word of who will succeed Shari:

After 12 years with NW Hope & Healing, Shari Sewell, our talented Executive Director, will be stepping away from her role as Executive Director and from daily operations at NW Hope & Healing. Shari’s passion for assisting breast cancer and gynecology patients will endure in the years to come as a supporter of the NWHH mission. Shari will continue in her role through early December. We are so thankful for Shari’s time and energy developing NW Hope & Healing into a thriving foundation that touches lives on a daily basis.

Shari has put her heart and soul into this organization, but she’s ready to hand the reins to a new leader and take a well-deserved break. Kristina Dahl will take over as ED in December. Kristina looks forward to building upon NWHH’s solid foundation so that, together, we can assist more women than ever before.

Shari says, “I’m proud of what we’ve done and they way we’ve done it. I’ve exceeded my goals for the organization so it’s time for me to focus on the next chapter of my life. NW Hope & Healing is on solid ground and I’m excited to see where it goes.”.

The Board of Directors is grateful for her devotion, leadership, and commitment to the organization. Shari has been a vital force behind our Healing Programs, which have reached 10,000 women in the last 15 years, to help them get back on track financially while they deal with the physical and emotional effects of breast cancer. Please join us at our wine tasting at the Georgetown Ballroom on November 18th as we raise a glass to thank Shari, toast to her success and celebrate new beginnings.

If NWH&H has not directly touched your life or that of someone in your family, you might still have been part of their work by running or walking in the summertime Alki Beach 5K Run/Walk – here’s our coverage of this year’s event; Shari’s successor Kristina spoke at the 2013 Alki Beach 5K. NWH&H also presents other benefits/celebrations including the annual “Style” fashion show (next one April 28, 2016).

VIDEO: Chief Sealth IHS Veterans’ Day assembly features Class of 1965′s tribute to fallen heroes

November 5, 2015 at 10:57 pm | In West Seattle news, West Seattle people, West Seattle schools | 5 Comments

Members of the Chief Sealth Class of 1965 have officially presented their alma mater with the plaque we first told you about in September, in honor of Sealth graduates who lost their lives while serving their country.

It happened today at the school’s Veterans Day assembly, where, above, Sealth ’65 graduate and Navy veteran John McElroy was the spotlight speaker. He served in Vietnam in the ’60s while in the Navy and recently retired from the Merchant Marine. He spoke about the importance of service, and said he knew some of those whose names are on the plaque. Along with reading those names, he spoke of meeting Sealth’s current teachers and students, and said that if the young people he’s met are the future, we have nothing to worry about. One of those students, Mahala Provost, sang the National Anthem – listen!

Sealth’s flag team performed a routine set to “Stars and Stripes Forever“:

And the assembly concluded with a student-created video, with some students talking about family members in the military, and some faculty/staff members talking about their time in the service. (The official observance of Veterans’ Day, November 11th, is next Wednesday, and school will not be in session.)

Homa Rugs: Welcoming a new WSB sponsor, with a clearance sale and free West Seattle delivery

October 30, 2015 at 3:10 pm | In West Seattle news, West Seattle people | 1 Comment

We’re welcoming a new WSB sponsor this afternoon, Homa Rugs, whose proprietor, Ahmad Mohammadian, invites his fellow West Seattleites to come shop his store’s inventory-clearance sale before its move at the end of the year. He’s offering free delivery to anywhere in West Seattle.

(Ahmad Mohammadian and son Bijan, graduate of Seattle Lutheran HS)

Homa Rugs has been in business on 1st Avenue for three decades. What you’ll find includes all-wool rugs in a variety of patterns, from several countries, crafted with all-natural vegetable dyes, which he says will last 30 to 40 years with proper care. Some of them are antique rugs that are in good condition. Homa Rugs‘ inventory also includes Gabbeh rugs.

The store is moving because its site is being redeveloped. Right now during the clearance sale, 2×3 rugs start for as little as $50, 3×5 rugs beginning at $100, and 4×6 rugs for as little as $200. You’ll also find runners up to 10×14 in length and rugs as large as 17×23.

Homa Rugs is at 1208 1st Avenue downtown, 206-623-7663, online at homarugs.net.

We thank Homa Rugs for sponsoring independent, community-collaborative neighborhood news via WSB; find our current sponsor team listed in directory format here, and find info on joining the team by going here.

CONGRATULATIONS! Metropolitan Market-Admiral has another ‘Washington’s Best Bagger,’ Candice Lastimado

October 29, 2015 at 2:20 am | In West Seattle news, West Seattle people | 5 Comments

(Photos courtesy Washington Food Industry Association)

Congratulations to Candice Lastimado, a courtesy clerk at Metropolitan Market (WSB sponsor) in Admiral, the store’s second Washington’s Best Bagger champ in four years. She won the title, the trophy, and a $2,000 prize this week at the Washington Food Industry Association-presented event in Spokane. She was accompanied by quite the team:

With her in that photo are her coach – store director Glen Hasstedt – as well as sales/operations executive VP Helen Neville, president/CEO Todd Korman, mom Dana Lastimado, and operations VP Darryl Pittman. In February, Candice will go to Las Vegas to compete in the 30th annual National Grocers Association Best Bagger Competition. The store’s previous national contender, two-time state champ Andrew Borracchini, won the title in 2013.

P.S. Wondering about the competition criteria? From the announcement: “Participants in the Best Bagger Battle were judged on a rigorous criterion of speed, style, technique, and uniform bag weight. The competition consisted of up to three rounds. The first used paper bags, while the second required participants to fill reusable bags. A bruising third and final round determined the ultimate winner.”

Memorial service Saturday for Lisa Slader, 1965-2015

October 28, 2015 at 9:07 am | In Obituaries, West Seattle news, West Seattle people | 3 Comments

A memorial service is planned this Saturday for Lisa Slader, 50. Here’s the remembrance her family is sharing:

Lisa Slader passed away Sunday night after a two-year battle with cancer.

Lisa was born in San Angelo, Texas and raised in Burien. Her father worked at Boeing for 30 years. Lisa attended Evergreen High School, graduating in 1983. Lisa met Greg Slader in 1987 and they settled into the West Seattle neighborhood of Belvedere. Lisa had a 25-year career @ Northwest Administrators as she excelled in pension accounting.

Lisa is survived by her two boys and her husband. She was very involved with their youth sports, as her boys played baseball, basketball, and soccer in local West Seattle leagues. Jesse and Cameron went on to graduate from West Seattle High school.

Funeral Services are this Saturday (October 31), 11 am @ Forest Lawn Cemetery, 6701 30th Ave. SW in West Seattle.

(WSB publishes West Seattle obituaries by request, free of charge. Please e-mail the text, and a photo if available, to editor@westseattleblog.com)

FOLLOWUP: Still seeking fallen service members’ relatives for plaque presentation at Chief Sealth IHS Veterans Day assembly

October 26, 2015 at 6:00 pm | In West Seattle news, West Seattle people | 1 Comment

That’s the plaque we first told you about back last month – a special project of the Chief Sealth Class of 1965 in their 50th-anniversary year, granite with brass nameplates honoring all the fallen service members from Chief Sealth. Ron Templin explains, “The left-hand row of brass name plates were for Vietnam, the center row is for Iraq, and the right-hand row is for Afghanistan.” He says the plaque will be presented during Chief Sealth International High School’s Veterans Day assembly at 10:15 am November 5th: “The family members of these brave soldiers are invited to attend.”:

Sigrid Karlstrom ’61 family notified
Lewis Nelson ’62
Allan Potter ’64
Luigi Frank Albanese ’65
Thomas Foster ’65
Thomas Harding ’65
Richard Krogh ’65
Norman Chaney ’66
Dick DeGraaf ’66 family notified
David Lauritsen ’66
John Rauen ’66
Mark Knollmeyer ’67
Donald Douglas ’68
Clarence Risher ’68

Tracy Melvin ’95 family notified

Jarod Newlove ’03 family notified

If anyone knows family members of these service members, please let them know about this Memorial Plaque presentation.

Ron can be reached at: r_templin@yahoo.com

Memorial service on Saturday for ‘Kerm’ Franks, 1918-2015

October 20, 2015 at 10:23 am | In Obituaries, West Seattle news, West Seattle people | 4 Comments

A memorial service is planned in West Seattle on Saturday for Dean Kermit “Kerm” Franks, 97. Here’s the remembrance his family is sharing:

Dean Kermit “Kerm” Franks, a longtime West Seattle resident and retired vice principal of West Seattle High School, died of natural causes October 16 in West Seattle, supported by his extended family. He was 97, and had been a resident of The Kenney retirement community since 2005.

He was born January 23, 1918 in Coldwater, Kansas, the third of four children born to Willard and Tulu Franks. He graduated from the University of Kansas in 1940.

He met his future wife, Esther Faye Anderson, while teaching high school in Eudora, Kansas. They were married in February 1942, ten days before he was drafted into the Army. His service was in Alaska, and when the war ended the couple decided to settle in Seattle. They started a family and Kerm began a 30-year career with Seattle Public Schools. He earned his Masters and Doctor of Education degrees from the University of Washington. He took early retirement in 1975.

From 1961 to 1975, Kerm and Faye co-managed the Seabeck Conference Center on Hood Canal. They are remembered fondly as “Uncle Kerm” and “Auntie Faye” by the many former staff members, who were high-school and college youth at the time. For more than 25 years beginning in 1963, Kerm and Faye hosted a series of exchange students from Europe, Asia and Central America. They also traveled to a number of countries, visiting the families of their student guests.

The couple built a cabin at Lake Cushman, near Hoodsport, Washington, in 1976. They spent summers there, encouraging visits from family and friends. Kerm was physically active until near the end of his life, enjoying hiking, berry picking, swimming, square dancing and handyman projects. He was still chopping wood at the cabin into his 90s.

Kerm was an active member of Tibbetts United Methodist Church in West Seattle, where he served in volunteer administrative positions.
Faye died in 2012, after 70 years of marriage. His son, David, died in 2013. He is survived by daughters Marsha (Mike) and Candace (John); son Dean (Cynthia); 7 grandchildren; 11 great-grandchildren; 4 nephews and 3 nieces.

A memorial service to celebrate his long life will be held next Saturday (October 24th) at 10 a.m. at Tibbetts United Methodist Church, 3940 41st Ave SW, Seattle, WA 98116. Memorials may be sent to Tibbetts Church, or to Seabeck Conference Center, 13395 Lagoon Drive NW, Seabeck, WA 98380.

(WSB publishes West Seattle obituaries by request, free of charge. Please e-mail the text, and a photo if available, to editor@westseattleblog.com)

Memorial service Saturday for Patricia J. Hansen, 1929-2015

October 13, 2015 at 12:25 pm | In Obituaries, West Seattle news, West Seattle people | 2 Comments

A memorial service is planned in West Seattle this Saturday for Patricia J. Hansen, 86. Here’s the remembrance her family is sharing:

Beloved wife, mother, grandmother, aunt and friend, Patricia J. Hansen passed away peacefully after suffering many years with Alzheimer’s Disease on Monday, September 28th at Park West Care Center.

She was born on May 19, 1929 to Ingvald and Christine in Seattle.

Patricia grew up in Ballard and attended Ballard High School, graduating in 1947. After high school, she worked at JC Penney clothing store in downtown Seattle. While out dancing at the Spanish Castle and The Trianon Ballroom, she met the love of her life – Charles “Chuck” Hansen. They married in 1953 and raised three children in West Seattle.

It was here in West Seattle that she made a loving home and worked many years at Don Swanson Insurance. She volunteered at the WS Senior Center and played Bunco there. Pat and Chuck traveled to Australia, Europe, Scandinavia, Hawaii and Mexico. Upon retiring, they spent some years as “rain birds” in Mesa, Arizona. Pat took up clogging and enjoyed time at the pool with Chuck.

Patricia is predeceased by her parents Christine and Ingvald, her loving husband Chuck in 1989, and her sister and brother-in-law, Pauline and Phil Isaminger. Surviving Pat are her three children – son Greg (wife Chris), son Keith (wife Irene), her daughter Diane, her grandchildren Veronica and Charlie, and numerous aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews, and cousins.

Memorial services will be Saturday, October 17th at First Lutheran Church of West Seattle at 11 am. Remembrances can be made to The Alzheimer’s Association.

(WSB publishes West Seattle obituaries by request, free of charge. Please e-mail the text, and a photo if available, to editor@westseattleblog.com)

Celebration of life next Saturday for Carole Gillespie, 1961-2015

October 11, 2015 at 10:12 am | In Obituaries, West Seattle news, West Seattle people | 1 Comment

A celebration of life for Carole Gillespie and her life partner Robert Childs, both of whom died this year, is planned next Saturday (October 17th). Here’s the announcement from Ms. Gillespie’s family:

Carole Jean (Tiede) Gillespie was born March 22, 1961 in Sacramento, California. She passed away at home of inoperable lung cancer on January 28, 2015. Carole graduated from West Seattle High School in 1979.

She is survived by her parents, Thomas and Pamela Tiede; brother Tom Jr. (LeeAnn); nephew Matthew Tiede; niece Kirstin Tiede; uncles Dale Ruppert (Maxine); Richard Tiede (Bracey); cousin Tamera Castagne and family. Carole is deeply missed by her family.

Robert Childs, Carole’s life partner of nearly 24 years, passed away August 17, 2015, also of cancer.

A joint Celebration of Life for Carole and Bob will be held on Saturday, October 17, 2015, at 11 am at the Unity Church in Lynnwood, located at 16727 Alderwood Mall Parkway.

In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to Providence Regional Cancer Partnership at cancerpartnership.org/Survivor-Resources.

(WSB publishes West Seattle obituaries by request, free of charge. Please e-mail the text, and a photo if available, to editor@westseattleblog.com)

Remembering little Drue: Neighbors’ tribute in Morgan Junction

October 5, 2015 at 10:11 pm | In Crime, West Seattle news, West Seattle people | 2 Comments

As they had promised in the note published here this morning, neighbors created a sidewalk-side memorial tonight for 17-month-old Drue Lehto, who died eight days ago of internal injuries that police say his father’s girlfriend confessed to causing by kicking him. They told us other community members had stopped by to add small tributes – stuffed animals, candles, flowers. It’s in a tree well along the sidewalk in the 6500 block of California SW, just south of the Morgan Junction apartment building where Drue died; you are welcome to add to it, they said. Meantime, the accused killer remains jailed in lieu of $1 million bail; we’ll likely hear from prosecutors tomorrow about charges.

VIDEO: Summer-long ‘Swim Duwamish’ wraps up in West Seattle

September 30, 2015 at 1:20 pm | In Environment, West Seattle news, West Seattle people | 2 Comments

It’s been a big year for milestone swims. Today, another one: That’s Mark Powell, on the last leg of his summer-long “Swim Duwamish” tour, incrementally traveling 55 miles, along the full length of the Green and Duwamish Rivers, to call attention to how vital it is to our region, and yet how fragile, after decades of abuse. As he swam to Seacrest, he didn’t arrive alone:

The Blue Heron Canoeescorted him in; Duwamish Tribe member Ken Workman spoke traditional words of welcome. See and hear for yourself (you’ll also hear what Powell said about his journey):

And then, celebratory cupcakes:

Powell said he set out to find “the heart of the Duwamish” and was glad to see the waters thick with salmon in some places:

His swims were chronicled on this website, where you can also see videos such as this one showing some of the salmon he saw:

Powell emphasized that you can take small steps to make a difference in the future of the river and all who live in it and by it and who depend on it (here’s one good place to learn “7 simple solutions”).

HELP! Memorial plaque planned to honor Chief Sealth graduates killed in action – can you help find their families?

September 22, 2015 at 12:21 pm | In How to help, West Seattle news, West Seattle people | 7 Comments

After its 50th-anniversary reunion this year, the Chief Sealth Class of 1965 is working on a special project, and needs your help. The request we were asked to share:

The class of 1965 will be presenting a granite and brass Memorial Plaque of all Sealth graduates that were killed in action in Vietnam, Iraq, and Afghanistan at sometime in the near future. We were hoping that you might be able to assist us in notifying the families of these brave soldiers so they might attend if they wish or are able. Date to be determined.

Vietnam -
Sigrid Karlstrom ’61 (family notified)
Lewis Nelson ’62
Allan Potter ’64
Luigi Filbanese ’65
Thomas Foster ’65
Thomas Harding ’65
Richard Krogh ’65
Norman Chaney ’66
Dick DeGraaf ’66 (family notified)
David Lauritsen ’66
John Rauen ’66
Mark Knollmeyer ’67
Donald Douglas ’68
Clarence Risher ’68

Iraq -
Tracy Melvin ’95

Afghanistan -
Jarod Newlove ’03

Only 2 families have been notified so far. If we can at least get the contacts made in the next few weeks, it will be much easier to notify these families once a date has been set for the presentation of this memorial at Chief Sealth High School. Any assistance will be greatly appreciated.

Ron Templin
Sealth ’65

If you are a relative of anyone mentioned – or if you know how to reach them – please e-mail Ron at r_templin@yahoo.com – thank you!

West Seattleite Bill Schrier joins SPD as interim Chief Info Officer

September 16, 2015 at 2:24 pm | In West Seattle news, West Seattle people | 9 Comments

Just announced via SPD BlotterBill Schrier, the West Seattleite who served as the city’s Chief Technology Officer until 2012, is back with the city, at least temporarily, as interim Chief Information Officer for Seattle Police. From the announcement:

As CIO, Schrier will lead the department’s efforts to bolster SPD’s information technology programs and services. He will be a part of the leadership team that will continue to fulfill Mayor Ed Murray and Chief Kathleen O’Toole’s vision that the SPD should be “second to none” when it comes to how the Department uses technology to support its officers and provides for the safety and security of the Seattle community.

As we noted when Schrier left his previous city role, much of the information we report here comes from government data – so these types of roles in particular are vital to increased transparency. We have long asked in particular for more police-report narratives to be made available, and more often – right now, only a tiny percentage of them get published online, and only in a few crime categories, because they generally have to be redacted by hand first, and that is labor-intensive. They’ve been working on ways to automate that process (as well as the much-more-publicized process of making body-cam video available), so we’re hopeful of a breakthrough. Back to today’s announcement: Schrier succeeds Greg Russell, a former Amazon exec, who left the CIO job after less than a year.

Remembering Steve James Bratsanos, 1926-2015

September 11, 2015 at 8:50 am | In Obituaries, West Seattle news, West Seattle people | 2 Comments

Family and friends are mourning Steve James Bratsanos, who died two weeks ago at 89. Here’s the remembrance being shared with the community:

Steve was born July 12, 1926 in Psara, Greece, and passed away August 28, 2015. Loving husband, father, and grandfather. Steve loved his church, his family, and especially his granddaughters. He had a lifelong love of sailboats and the sea. He was patient, kind, never complained, and always had a smile on his face.

He is survived by his wife of 57 years, Rose; daughter Marianne, son James, daughter-in-law Leslie, and his two granddaughters Amalia and Eliana. He will be greatly missed. Remembrances may be made to the Assumption Church or Philoptochos. Visit greeksinwashington.org/seattle-or-nothing to learn more about Steve’s life. Services were held last weekend. From the program:

Steve (Stamati) was born on the island of Palea Psara, Greece, the youngest of three children. He had a trying life but always kept a smile on his face. As a young teenager, he survived the German occupation of Psara during WWII and its accompanying deprivations. The memory of those tough times stayed fresh through his whole life. He loved his adopted country and was proud of being an American, but his path to citizenship was not easy.

Click to read the rest of Remembering Steve James Bratsanos, 1926-2015…

FOLLOWUP: ‘Best experience of my life,’ says West Seattle’s Morgan McCullough of USA Baseball team’s world-title win

September 7, 2015 at 9:52 pm | In West Seattle news, West Seattle people, WS & Sports | 3 Comments

(Photos by Cameron HarrisUSA Baseball, republished with permission)

Toward the left of that photo, #5 on the USA Baseball 18U National Team, is West Seattle High School senior Morgan McCullough, gesturing “#1″ with both hands right after he and his teammates won the WBSC World Cup tournament in Osaka, Japan this weekend. We wrote on Saturday about the team making it into Sunday’s title game; Team USA was victorious over the host team, taking the USA’s third consecutive title, 2-1. McCullough, who is due home late tonight, started the game at playing second base and batting leadoff, drawing a walk to get on base early on:

His mom Jane Muxen McCullough says, “This is something he has been working for since he first picked up a bat.” We asked her what he had to say about the victory, and she relayed this quote: “It was the best experience of my life with the best teammates I could imagine. Representing the USA, the team felt we had targets on our back. We embraced that feeling and stuck together as a unit, and because of that we are gold medalists.” Morgan is the only Northwest resident on the team, whose roster you can see here.

Congratulations! ‘Diver Laura’ James honored as ‘Sea Hero’

September 7, 2015 at 11:15 am | In Environment, West Seattle news, West Seattle people | 3 Comments

From just-hatched octopus babies to an iridescent nudibranch, the sea life in the video above comprise just a tiny corner of the window on the undersea world that “Diver Laura” James has provided to so many in recent years. And it’s an adjunct to what else she and fellow volunteers have done in local waters – cleanups and environmental education, too. That all made her Scuba Diving magazine’s monthly “Sea Hero” for August, one of what the magazine describes as “everyday divers who make an extraordinary difference.” In case you haven’t seen it in the print edition, the story is now online – read it here. Her videos are part of what she talks about in the interview:

People protect what they love, but they must know it to love it. I remind myself of this when the weather is cold and the visibility is low. All the creatures, great and small, are worth filming and sharing, and that next bit of video I shoot may make the difference for one elected official, or inspire one little kid.

She also talks about the tox-ick.org toxic-runoff-reduction campaign – take a look at 7 things you can do, especially important as winter (and inevitably more rain) approaches, washing what’s on the streets and in your yards right into Puget Sound.

West Seattle’s Morgan McCullough & USA Baseball National teammates going for World Cup gold

September 5, 2015 at 12:11 pm | In West Seattle news, West Seattle people, WS & Sports | 6 Comments

Just two weeks ago, we reported on West Seattle High School senior Morgan McCullough being chosen to join the USA Baseball 18U National Team, which was getting ready to defend the world title it won two years ago. Today, the team is hours away from the gold-medal game at that tournament in Osaka, Japan. They beat Canada 9-5 early today (the game started at 2 am our time) in a “tune-up” for the title game, which they earned their way into via a 6-5 victory over Cuba the day before. The title game is against Japan, at 2 am our time Sunday morning (aka, really late tonight) and you’ll be able to watch it live online if you’re up – via this Ustream channel, or check in on play-by-play tweets here. McCullough is the only player from the Northwest on the national-team roster.

ADDED SUNDAY: As noted in comments, USA won, 2-1!

Remembering ‘Don’ Greengo, 1928-2015, who ‘set a wonderful example for humanity’

September 4, 2015 at 11:56 pm | In Obituaries, West Seattle news, West Seattle people | 5 Comments

The family of retired science teacher “Don” Greengo is sharing this remembrance with the community:

H. Donald “Don” Greengo, loving husband, father, grandfather, and great-grandfather, died of natural causes, surrounded by loved ones, on June 4, 2015. Born October 15, 1928, in Waconia, MN, to Royal E. and Blanche I. (Downs) Greengo, he was the youngest of four boys. At the age of two, Don contracted polio, which affected the growth of his legs. He underwent several surgeries at Shriner’s Hospital throughout his childhood. Always having a positive outlook on life, he never complained.

As a teenager during the summer of 1945 he met his future wife and the love of his life, Gretchen Harvey. But life would first take them in different directions.

After graduating from the College of St. Thomas in St. Paul, MN, with a Bachelors in Science, and further studies at Case Institute in Cleveland and the University of Washington in Seattle, he began teaching science (chemistry, physics, earth sciences, and math) in Anoka, MN. Despite using a cane to help with walking, Don traveled to Japan, the Middle East, India, and Europe, exploring different cultures. In the mid-1950s, Don took a job with the U.S. State Department to teach overseas, first in Japan at the Itazuke U.S. Air Force Base, and then at Habibia College in Kabul, Afghanistan. While still overseas, he learned through his sister-in-law that Gretchen was living in Seattle and was a widow with two small children. After returning to the U.S. in late 1958, he came to Seattle and a date was arranged for Don and Gretchen to meet. Don proposed to Gretchen after that first date and they married on July 17th, 1959.

Don began a career with the Seattle School District in 1959, teaching at Sealth, Nathan Hale, and finally, 18 years at West Seattle High School, where he was head of the Science Department, retiring in 1984. He was a favorite teacher of many students over the years. He garnered respect from his students because he treated them with respect, as he did with all people.

Don will be remembered by family and friends as a man of quiet strength, integrity, patience, and compassion. Don enjoyed traveling with his family, visiting relatives and the annual summer trips with Gretchen, their children and grandchildren. He loved to play games, tell corny jokes, and tell of his adventures overseas. He loved the Arts, going to many plays, ballets, and concerts, and he loved the outdoors. He had a great love for his family and they for him.

Don is survived by his wife Gretchen, of nearly 56 years; his children, Denise (Bugnon) (husband Ken) Reed, Paul Bugnon, Kevin Greengo, and Laurie Greengo; his grandchildren, Jennifer Reed, Stephanie (Reed) Olson, Owen Greengo; and great-grandchildren, Brennen and Peyton Olson; his brother Irving Greengo; and numerous nieces and nephews. The family would like to thank close family friend and nurse extraordinaire Keiko Hume for the compassionate and loving care she gave Don.

Don, we will miss you, your great sense of humor and love of life, your selflessness. and your love of family. You set a wonderful example for humanity. In lieu of flowers, the family requests you give a donation to a charity of your choice in Don’s honor. A celebration of Don’s life will be held at a future date; information for family and friends will be forthcoming.

(WSB publishes West Seattle obituaries by request, free of charge. Please e-mail the text, and a photo if available, to editor@westseattleblog.com)

Happy birthday, Maxine Bundy! Longtime West Seattleite is now a brand-new centenarian

August 31, 2015 at 10:26 pm | In West Seattle news, West Seattle people | 6 Comments

Meet the woman who is likely the newest centenarian in West Seattle, Maxine Bundy. Today is the second day of her 101st year, and granddaughter Brietta Tatro shares the photo and announcement:

On August 30th, longtime West Seattle resident Maxine Bundy reached the venerable age of 100 years old. Born in Missouri in a small town on the Mississippi River, she moved to Seattle with her family, eventually settling in West Seattle as a young bride in the 1940’s; she has called our fair peninsula home ever since.

To celebrate this important milestone, family and friends gathered for a surprise birthday party this past Saturday afternoon and feted her with smiles, hugs, cakes, and song. The following morning, Maxine was honored at West Side Presbyterian Church by fellow church members. As a centenarian, Maxine is extraordinarily energetic and independent, enjoying lunch out with friends, shopping excursions to Southcenter, and trips with family members. Life continues to be a grand adventure for this remarkable woman. Happy Birthday, Maxine!

VIDEO: Duwamish Tribe chair face-to-face with U.S. Interior Secretary in West Seattle, report #2

August 31, 2015 at 5:31 am | In West Seattle news, West Seattle people | 11 Comments

Story, photos, and video by Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor

Listening to Alaska Natives is the first thing on President Obama‘s schedule when he arrives in Alaska later today.

Listening to a Puget Sound Native leader is something his Interior Secretary probably didn’t expect to find herself doing in her West Seattle driveway while preparing to head north herself.

As first reported here on Saturday, Duwamish Tribe chair Cecile Hansen went to Secretary Sally Jewell‘s North Admiral neighborhood with local activists hoping to deliver a letter seeking a meeting about Jewell’s department denying the tribe federal recognition two months ago. “Ruined my Fourth of July,” Hansen said about that July 2nd decision by the Bureau of Indian Affairs.

After gathering a few houses away on Saturday morning, Hansen and the group trouped up the front steps of where they thought Jewell lived (when not in DC).

A man answering the door told them that wasn’t the house they were looking for but wouldn’t say which house that would be. So they then semi-rallied on the sidewalk, reading statements, until one group member spotted Jewell – loading items into a car trunk in a driveway across the street. Over went everyone – including Hansen, surprised. Here’s what happened in the ensuing four and a half minutes:

Though the short encounter was more cheery than confrontational, as you heard, Jewell made no commitment – referring repeatedly to the “complexity” of the recognition issue and mentioning other tribes’ “difference of opinion.” Hansen, asked afterward what she thought, pronounced what she heard to have been “political runaround.” Days after the July denial of recognition, she told media at the tribe’s West Seattle longhouse that she felt especially let down by Jewell.

At the time, there also were suggestions of a grass-roots citizen lobbying effort. That might hold promise, if what happened on Jewell’s street a few minutes later is any indication. A neighbor emerged from a garage a few houses east – one still decorated for what apparently had been a luau the night before – to ask what was going on. Within a blink, Hansen and the activists were gathered outside the garage, making their case to the neighbor and several others sitting inside.

Petitions were circulated. Right after that, we took our leave – the windstorm was kicking up (as you can hear in our video) and people were starting to text about tree trouble. Hansen had said her council would be meeting this week, and that a conversation was due to happen with the lawyer representing them in an ongoing court attempt to force the recognition issue. Seattle’s U.S. Rep. Jim McDermott has tried to push recognition via legislation, but it has idled.

Hansen also hopes to hear from Jewell, who told her she would be back in D.C. after Labor Day, and said she at least would convey the message to Kevin Washburn, her assistant secretary for Indian Affairs, during the Alaska trip, which she noted would be followed by a visit to Eastern Washington tribes. Meantime, since the Saturday encounter, Jewell has made headlines with a gesture to Alaska Natives, announcing that Mount McKinley would be renamed Denali, the name by which it is known to them. The matter of recognizing a tribe – in, as she noted on Saturday, the face of opposition by others – is not as simple.

Chair Hansen reiterated that the Duwamish are determined. Even before the short chat with Jewell, she mused that maybe if the feds remain reluctant, she could take her case to Pope Francis, who is headed to the U.S. in three weeks.

AHEAD: THE LETTER – Read on to see the letter that the activists brought to Jewell’s neighborhood on behalf of Hansen and the Duwamish people:

Click to read the rest of VIDEO: Duwamish Tribe chair face-to-face with U.S. Interior Secretary in West Seattle, report #2…

Duwamish Tribe chair takes recognition fight to Interior Secretary in West Seattle: Report #1

August 29, 2015 at 11:14 am | In West Seattle news, West Seattle people | 16 Comments

(WSB photo by Tracy Record)

Quick first report on this, since we’re going into storm coverage: Within the past hour, Duwamish Tribe chair Cecile Hansen met U.S. Interior Secretary Sally Jewell – whose department denied federal recognition to the Duwamish, again, two months ago – semi-unexpectedly. Hansen and representatives of two activist groups, the Coalition of Anti-Racist Whites and Rising Tide Seattle, had gone to what they believed was Jewell’s North Admiral home to deliver a letter inviting her to meet with tribal leaders. (A representative of the groups, which issued a media advisory, told us last night they had no reason to believe Jewell was home from D.C., but they had decided to do this now anyway.)

At what they believed was the correct house, a man answering the door said it wasn’t. The group headed back to the sidewalk to read their letters of invitation anyway. Suddenly, a member of the group looked across the street and pointed to a woman loading items into the trunk of a car in a driveway, saying he was sure THAT was Secretary Jewell. Indeed, it was, and everyone trouped across the street. Jewell, a WS resident since her days as CEO of REI, stopped for a few moments to talk and listen, making no commitments on the issue, describing it as “complicated.” Hansen described that reaction afterward as “political runaround.” She says the tribe is taking their fight to court, again. We recorded this all on video and will publish it as part of a second report later.

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